On Shavuot in ancient times Jewish pilgrims would march into Jerusalem from the countryside, carrying baskets of ripe fruits and bread baked from the newly harvested wheat.
In rabbinic times, Shavuot became identified with the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It has long been a custom to inaugurate a Jewish child's education at Shavuot. In many contemporary American Jewish communities, confirmations and graduations take place at this time.
For fifteen years our community has revitalized an ancient tradition by celebrating Shavuot with the study of our sacred texts. Temple Beth Ami and Congregation Beth Shalom have taken turns hosting an evening of dessert and study on Erev Shavuot.
This year we will be hosting the Shavuot Study Session at Temple Beth Ami on Saturday evening, June 11th, beginning at 8:00 PM. In a year of elections and national debate over such critical issues as healthcare, immigration and welfare, we will explore the texts, starting with the Torah, for insights into contemporary solutions. We look forward to your participation in this program, a celebration of Jewish learning and community connection.
On the topic of education, it’s hard to believe another school year is coming to an end. Once again our educators at Temple Beth Ami, led by our Cantor Kenny Ellis have done an amazing job. The Cantor has been a wonderful addition to our educational team, and his leadership has been a tremendous asset. Our program continues to grow, and is constantly stimulating our students’ minds and inspiring them as they begin their own personal Jewish journeys.
For Adult learning, our Tuesday morning class that meets at 9 AM continues to grow and our Wednesday evening D’var Torah class meets at 7 PM and is coming up on two years of not only weekly study but the sharing of our Torah interpretations. TBA has celebrated with nearly 50 adults as they have gone through the study and preparation required to read and comment on the Torah. We are putting together an Interest List for Adult B’nai Mitzvah, so please contact the TBA office if you are interested.
At TBA we look forward to expanding the educational offerings for people of all ages and backgrounds. As our congregation continues to grow, so will the opportunities to expand the mind, heart and heart. We believe that we will truly be a stronger community when we are all devoted to lifelong learning–a Jewish tradition from Sinai.
Rabbi Mark Blazer